OTTAWA - The Pittsburgh Penguins are going so well, they can even find something positive in a lopsided loss.
After all, before Saturday night, they hadn't had to deal with one in over a month.
Daniel Alfredsson had two goals and two assists, and the Ottawa Senators dealt Pittsburgh its first regulation loss in 15 games, beating the Penguins 8-4.
Sidney Crosby scored his first goal in six games since making his second comeback of the season, but it wasn't enough as Pittsburgh fell to 13-1-1 since a 6-2 loss in Buffalo on Feb. 19.
Crosby, who made a spectacular pass to set up one of Matt Cooke's two goals, beat Craig Anderson with a shot into the top right corner 11:43 into the third to draw Pittsburgh within 5-4.
He has 11 points since his latest return from concussion-like symptoms.
On the ice
Tonight: New Jersey at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
"You never want to lose but you also don't want to get away with the kind of mistakes that we made tonight," Crosby said. "Sometimes that gives you a false sense of security, when you get away with stuff like that, so I think we have to make sure that we're keeping good habits here.
"Teams are going to be desperate from here on in so we've got to expect tough games and really make sure our game is where it needs to be heading into the playoffs."
Pittsburgh dropped three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. The Penguins have eight games left, compared to seven for New York.
"They're a heck of a team over there and they've been proving that for the past month," said Ottawa left wing Nick Foligno, who had three assists.
Jason Spezza increased the Senators' lead to 6-4 with his 31st goal on a breakaway at 13:16. Alfredsson, who scored a short-handed goal late in the second, added his second of the game at 17:05.
Milan Michalek had a goal and two assists, and Kyle Turris and Sergei Gonchar each had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which also got goals from Chris Phillips and Colin Greening.
"We played a pretty high-paced game," Alfredsson said. "They kind of do that to you, and you either keep up or you find yourself behind, but we did a good job of pushing ourselves. We didn't just wait for them to do something, we kind of initiated a lot of our own offense, especially after they went up 2-1.
"We didn't fold down and I thought we showed a lot of character."
Craig Anderson stopped 18 shots in relief for his first win since Feb. 22. Ottawa starter Ben Bishop made 17 saves before leaving the game 9:23 into the second after sustaining an undisclosed lower body injury during a goal-mouth scramble.
The Senators, who snapped a three-game losing streak, are seventh in the East with 86 points.
"Usually when we win one, we win a few, and that's the confidence we take from tonight," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said.
Tyler Kennedy also scored for the Penguins. Brad Thiessen made 20 saves in his first loss in four games with Pittsburgh.
"There weren't a lot of pucks that he had a chance on that went in," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
Alfredsson scored his first goal in 13 games at 16:07 of the second, a short-handed effort that restored Ottawa's two-goal lead at 5-3.
Crosby just missed pushing Cooke's first tally across the goal line, which tied it 1-1 at 9:46 of the first.
The Penguins captain made a spectacular play to set up Cooke's second goal at 13:01. Crosby spun to his left to evade defenseman Erik Karlsson's coverage and fired a hard backhand pass in front to Cooke, who directed the puck past Bishop for his 19th goal to put Pittsburgh up 2-1.
"Karlsson did a good job," Crosby said. "He played me pretty tight, so really the only chance I had to get it through was to kind of fake like I was going to go forehand and try to get a backhand over there. Cookie did a great job of going to the net."
Gonchar tied it 33 seconds into the second with his fourth goal.
Phillips scored a power-play goal 7:05 into the second to put Ottawa up 3-2. Turris made it 4-2 with his ninth at 7:41.
Kennedy drew Pittsburgh back within 4-3 with his ninth goal 14 seconds later at 7:55.